Disclosure of pharmacokinetic drug results to understand nonadherence
Objectives: In VOICE, a phase IIB trial of daily oral and vaginal tenofovir for HIV prevention, at least 50% of women receiving active products had undetectable tenofovir in all plasma samples tested. MTN-003D, an ancillary study using in-depth interviews (IDIs) and focus group discussions (FGDs), together with retrospective disclosure of plasma tenofovir pharmacokinetic results, explored adherence challenges during VOICE. Methods: We systematically recruited participants with pharmacokinetic data (median six plasma samples), categorized as low (0%, N = 79), inconsistent (1–74%, N = 28) or high (≥75%; N = 20) on the basis of frequency of tenofovir detection. Following disclosure of pharmacokinetic results, reactions were captured and adherence challenges systematically elicited; IDIs and FGDs were audio-recorded, transcribed, coded and thematically analysed. Results: We interviewed 127 participants from South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe. The most common reactions to pharmacokinetic results included surprise (41%; low pharmacokinetic), acceptance (39%; inconsistent pharmacokinetic) and happiness (65%; high pharmacokinetic). On the basis of participants’ explanations, we developed a typology of adherence patterns: noninitiation, discontinuation, misimplementation (resulting from visit-driven use, variable taking, modified dosing or regimen) and adherence. Fear of product side effects/harm was a frequent concern, fuelled by stories shared among participants. Although women with high pharmacokinetic levels reported similar concerns, several described strategies to overcome challenges. Women at all pharmacokinetic levels suggested real-time drug monitoring and feedback to improve adherence and reporting. Conclusion: Retrospective provision of pharmacokinetic results seemingly promoted candid discussions around nonadherence and study participation. The effect of real-time drug monitoring and feedback on adherence and accuracy of reporting should be evaluated in trials.
van der Straten, Ariane, Elizabeth T. Montgomery, Petina Musara, Juliane Etima, Sarita Naidoo, Nicole Laborde, Miriam Hartmann, Lisa Levy, Thola Bennie, Helen Cheng, Jeanna Piper, Cynthia I. Grossman, Jeanne Marrazzo, and Barbara Mensch. 2015. "Disclosure of pharmacokinetic drug results to understand nonadherence," AIDS 29(16): 2161–2171.